Grip training is one of the most important physical aspects for all humans to train, yet it’s one of the most neglected ones.
Most people who do benching, presses, squats, pull-ups etc. never specifically train their grip. If you’ve never thought about your grip strength and hand health before, it’s the best reason for you to read this right now.
There are four main reasons to improve your grip strength I can sum this article up to: getting better any physical movement that requires any amount of grip strength, fixing and keeping away pain issues, having your forearms look better as a by-product and lastly the “fun factor.” Let’s elaborate on these.
#1: A stronger grip makes your everyday physical movement easier
What kind of daily situations do you have to use your hands in? I can think of three cases where you need them.
Your everyday tasks around your home
Even a mundane, very non-taxing life requires the use of hands for some amount.
The list of things we do around our homes and it’s vicinity include, but are not limited to:
-Carrying groceries. Do you have to take multiple trips to the shop, because your hands tire up too fast? Or are you able to carry even two or three bags per hand?
-Moving furniture around your house. Do you have to pay for someone to do that for you because hands can’t take it?
-Opening jars. Do you have to ask your husband to do it for you since your hands are too frail? Or even worse yet, do you ask your wife to do it for you?
-Cleaning your house. Some people’s hands are so weak they tire up from mere mopping and vacuum cleaning. Do you want to be one of them?
These kind of simple things all require at least a small level of grip strength. If you have a difficult time doing the most simple chores you’ll be surprised how much easier your life gets after you gain more strength in your hands.
Take it from me, I was a weakling who couldn’t carry groceries without stopping to rest every fifty meters. Even a Coca-Cola bottle of 1,5 liters hurt my hands when I attempted to carry it between my index and middle fingers. My hands used to tire up from carrying televisions. Today I can do everything around my house with ease. You can do it too.
The ways grip training can make your job easier to do depends on what you do for living. If your job doesn’t require much strength to begin with as in the case of an IT or other desk job, strength gains themselves probably won’t improve your performance. You wouldn’t type much better if you could hold a hundred kilos with one hand, right? However, if you work is physically taxing as in construction, logistics, etc. and have to carry and support things with your hands often and for a long duration at a time, training your grip will definitely help you then.
I’ve done construction and gardening work since 2010. Those jobs can be very physically taxing (yes, even gardening), especially the longer hours you work for.
My personal examples include, but aren’t limited to:
-Swinging and holding a sledgehammer. I believe most construction workers have had to use one at some point in their career. Yes, technique does matter, but the leverage your hands have against the sledgehammer is against you. In addition, the position you have to swing it from can be horribly unergonomic.
-Pushing a wheelbarrow. A wheelbarrow full of gravel, bricks or stone can feel heavy after pushing it for a few dozens of meters, or worse yet, uphill. Not having much grip strength and having it to spare feels like the difference between night and day.
-Carrying stones and bricks. Oh boy, the strain rocks can put on your finger and wrist tendons after carrying a few ton of them! Extra hand strength makes stonecrafting so much easier.
Your sports practice
If your sport requires any level of grip strength, training it can help your perfomance.
As all of those who also train in any sort of grappling sport surely know, you have to hang in each others sleeves, hems, collars, wrists, ankles and necks sometimes for minutes at a time. Excess tension will tire up and finally break your fingers, unless your hands are strong enough to withstand distress.
If you’re a power- or weightlifter you surely know how the level of your grip strength makes or breaks you. One needs much more of it when deadlifting 200 kilos instead of 100, even with a mixed grip. Strongmen know this too from doing farmer walks.
The point is that any sports practice that requires the use of hands becomes easier with improved grip strength. The better your body moves in one way, the better it can potentially move in other ways too. Remember this formula: stronger hands = stronger body.
But the benefits of grip training are not only about becoming capable of excerting X amount of force with your hands in movement Y. This brings us to the next reason to train your grip.
#2: It can prevent and solve pain issues and even injury in your body
If you have pain issues in your fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders, it can be directly related to over-, under-, mis- and disuse of one or more movements of your hands, because circumstances often force us in our day-to-day jobs and in the sports we play to move in ways that aren’t good for our bodies. It’s not like you can tell your boss “sorry, carrying rocks doesn’t test well today, I’ll do it some other day.
By training the hand movements that test best, you decrease the amount of pain you have and in the end, solve your pain issues completely.
Sometimes even I get pain somewhere in my arms from Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practice, but I’m able to solve it by doing what’s best for my body.
As a landscape constructor and gardener I have sometimes developed pain from repeating the same motion too much. Shoveling is a movement that sometimes has given me a tingling, pressurizing feeling in my elbows that wakes me up at middle of the night. Once again levering, wrist curls and crush gripping my Vulcan gripper and Captains of Crush grippers helped to resolve my pain issues.
Office workers are prone to developing chronic pain in their wrists and elbows from using a keyboard and a mouse too much and an overall poor working position. That kind of chronic pain doesn’t develope only to desk jockeys, but anyone who sits in front of their computer too much.
For example, I had developed elbow pain from excess playing of World of Warcraft years ago. Sledgehammer levering, wrist curls and crush grip training with my Vulcan gripper and Captains of Crush torsion spring grippers (crush grip = closing your hand) made the pain go away.
#3: Stronger grip = Bigger, more muscular and defined forearms = Better impression on other people
Your looks do matter a lot. In fact they can make you or break you, and your muscular condition is no exception.
In what other ways can an above-average amount of muscle on a man’s forearms make your life better?
You can have more and better opportunities with women. No matter what PUA gayrus gurus have told you, looks do matter to women. Deep down even the hairy, angry and bitter feminists like rugged, physically masculine men, because women are drawn to masculine men. However, you don’t have to take your forearm size to the extreme like Ronnie Coleman or Dorian Yates. Your improved forearm strength can also be used for better “manhandling” of women in the bedroom, if you know what I mean.
You can have better chances at getting a job. Employers do judge you by your appearance. All other factors being equal, which one do you think would be hired for a physical job? The man who looks physically strong or the one who looks very weak?
Your employer’s judgement can be affected by sex appeal. If you’re a man, do you think a female employer would be more likely to hire you if she was sexually attracted to you?
What about women who want to improve the way their forearms look?
The Gym Movement Protocol works for both sexes. Women don’t have to fear having their forearms grow freakishly big, unless they juice up like Gabrielle Garcia or Jill Mills.
#4:Grip training is FUN!
This reason sounds really vague. It’s a product of my subjective experience. This all started back in the 2011 when I found grip sports through a legendary strongman named Adam T. Glass and I’ve been hooked to it ever since. What has made grip training “fun” for myself?
There is almost an infinite amount of movements you can perform with your hands.
You can lift weights off the floor for maximum weight, reps or time with many different tools, such as barbells, dumbells, vertical bars, rolling handles, torsion grippers, sandbags and even anvils. You can do farmer walks. There’s an almost infinite amount of pull-up variations. There are so many different movements you can do it’s almost impossible to grow bored with grip training.
I train many movements I never even need in real life, such as half-a-penny, stub and hub lifts. But it feels like fun to train them and it makes me happier.
Only your imagination, the tools available for lifting and the amount of ways your wrists and fingers can move are the limit- and those limits barely exist.
So, there you have a brief 1000+ word summary of reasons to start training your grip, if you already don’t. This rabbit hole goes much, much deeper than this. You will learn more of grip training in the future posts.
Do you have any questions or comments about grip training? You’re welcome to drop them below!